The Orange County Public Library system has 33 branches throughout the county. There are several additional independent library branches as well, adding to the overall library total. Huntington Beach public Library system has five branches, and the Newport Beach Public Library system has seven branches. Mission Viejo also has an independent library branch. Here are some of the best libraries around Orange County.
7111 Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach Central Library is a large library branch in Orange County with a dedicated children’s library, teen space, a theater, and many community programs. The Central branch is open seven days a week. The children’s library offers fun and educational events throughout the year, including numerous story times during the week, crafting events, Lego Club, learn to code classes, homework help sessions, and year round reading programs. The children’s library also has computers available for educational games, tables for tutoring and public use, a pirate ship for toddlers to explore, and a variety of puzzles and games for young children. The Teen Space offers a computer lab for studying, math club, free driver’s permit practice tests, and more. There is a used book store and a gift shop on site. The Central branch hosts several events every year including ballet performances and the Taste of Huntington Beach, which benefits the Friends of the Children’s Library and has raised over $550,000 since 2001.
100 Civic Center, Mission Viejo
Mission Viejo Library offers a variety of resources and events for visitors. Arts and cultural events like live music performances and film festivals are a few things that adults will enjoy. The library also hosts a variety of programs for kids and teens including storytimes, crafts, study groups, and online research resources. One of the unique options available from the Mission Viejo Library is the Storytime in a Bag. Card holders can check out a storytime bag to take home that includes a preschool level book, a puppet, a themed music CD, a sample of a craft with instructions on how to create it, and fingerplay activities. The Mission Viejo Library also has a large collection of Veterans resources that can be accessed online via the library website.
1000 Avocado Avenue, Newport Beach
The large multi-level Newport Beach Central Library has a vast selection of books for readers of all ages. The library also offers a large selection of video game rentals, DVDs, and audio books. The children’s library offers singalongs, story times, drop in craft days, Lego clubs, pajama time, and more. The Teen Center offers a variety of resources for teens including college prep assistance, volunteer opportunities and training, online resources for studying, and a Young Adult Advisory Council. Holders of library cards get access to so much more than books at Newport Beach. Check out a room at the library for tutoring or meetings, and access tons of online resources like Lynda.com, Rosetta Stone, National Geographic Kids, and so much more. There is a small café with tables in the Newport Beach Central Library so you can enjoy your stay well past lunch time.
2647 East Coast Highway, Corona Deal Mar
Sherman Library & Gardens is a small library that specializes in historical research about the Pacific Southwest. It is combined with a botanical collection representative of plant species from all over the world, from habitats ranging from the desert to the rainforest. Library collections include documents relating to the development of the area. View records from the Colorado River Land Company, the Southern Pacific Railroad photograph collection, Tejon Ranch records, and more. Pacific Southwest coverage includes Southern California, Northern Mexico, Arizona, and nearby areas. Visitors to the Sherman Library & Gardens can enjoy a bite to eat or afternoon tea at the Café Jardin. The menu includes soup, salads, salmon, octopus, lamb, and a variety of delectable desserts. Sherman Library also hosts special events and serves as a venue for weddings.
25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills
The Technology Branch in Laguna Hills is one of the most unique branches in the Orange County library system. Located in the Laguna Hills Community Center, users can access computer workstations with Microsoft products and internet access. There is access to major newspapers, magazines, and a small collection of books. There is a fossil exhibit showcasing fossils from early mammals and marine life from the area with a few hands on activities for the kids. Staff often has activity books for visitors to complete at the counter. Outside of the technology branch is a sports complex and Fossil Reef Park – a fun dinosaur themed park that kids adore.
Visit OCPublic Libraries to find a library near you and learn more about resources available to card holders.
Now offered through the OC Public Library System, Discover & Go offers free and low admission to local destinations including museums, science centers, zoos and more. As a library card holder, you can reserve a pass to one of the following participating institutions:
- Aquarium of the Pacific
- Bytes & Bots Maker Lab
- Cabrillo Playhouse
- Casa Romantica
- City of Brea Art Gallery
- Heritage Museum of Orange County
- Mission San Juan Capistrano
- Muckenthaler Cultural Center
- Orange Coast College Planetarium
- Pretend City Children’s Museum
- Sawdust Festival
- South Coast Repertory
- Sistine Chapel Exhibition
Participating locations may change from time to time.
Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, an expert at exploring all that Orange County has to offer, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.